The Belt Parkway Case

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The Belt Parkway Case

Post by bladeracer » 22 Nov 2021, 9:46 am

From this thread.
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16086#p277507
DiscoStu mentioned this unusual case, so I ordered the book written by the detectives that ran the investigation into this apparent murder. The book is Chief! by Albert Seedman and Peter Hellman - 1974.

The Belt Parkway case is the first story in the book, and covers twelve pages, far more than I want to transcribe on a phone.

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Last edited by bladeracer on 22 Nov 2021, 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by bladeracer » 22 Nov 2021, 9:50 am

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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by disco stu » 22 Nov 2021, 11:39 am

Thanks for taking the time to post the whole story. Really interesting
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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by bladeracer » 22 Nov 2021, 12:42 pm

disco stu wrote:Thanks for taking the time to post the whole story. Really interesting


It is an unusual case, and I'm glad you mentioned it in that thread.

I still struggle to believe that the bullet hit the water, then traveled over 1000m, and was still intact enough for examination. If it hit the water at relatively close range (as would be when shooting sharks) it would've been badly deformed.

Interestingly there is no mention of the bullet being ballistically matched to the specific rifle. It appears to be entirely circumstantial. The bullet was found to be a two-groove, Lee Enfield (very few other rifles have left-hand twist). A guy was out on the water with such a type of rifle, and was shooting toward the land, a long way off, at the time the girl was killed.

Circumstantially, it seems entirely unlikely the bullet could have come from anywhere else. But the only evidence that could've linked the recovered bullet to the specific rifle was never offered in the case, as far as I can see. And as it didn't exit the girl's head it must've been travelling at pistol velocity at impact. A 180gn hunting soft-point at 2600fps will be subsonic by 800m, probably even below .38 Special velocities by 1500m, and probably well below expansion threshold for a hunting rifle bullet. This is for an undeformed bullet.

For it to have happened as the guy said, I reckon he would have to have been much, much closer to the coastline, for a bullet to bounce off the water and still have retained velocity around 600-800fps at the victim. I think he simply told them he was much further away to minimise his degree of negligence.

I would love to see pictures of the recovered bullet though.
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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by Oldbloke » 22 Nov 2021, 2:49 pm

303 FMJ I think would be unlikely to deform very much if it hit the water. And more likely to skip off the surface I think.
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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by No1Mk3 » 22 Nov 2021, 3:34 pm

G'day bladeracer,
Bad deformation does not prohibit forensic matching, you only need 1-2mm of flat. As for deforming from water strikes, I have picked up several that struck ground at less than 300 yards and travelled 1 1/2 miles to land on the Parade Ground in fairly good shape. It was the loss of a window in the 1st Lt's jeep that led to the range being closed. As for velocity, remember there are several 32 revolver rounds less than 550 fps, down to 450 fps for 36 & 44 c&b revolvers that are still lethal. The shot, though a real fluke, was feasible, Cheers.
(PS: the author needs firearms knowledge course!)
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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by disco stu » 22 Nov 2021, 4:21 pm

I've also picked up intact 7.62 fmj bullets from in front of the berm on a short navy range that, apart from the rifling in it, were completely undamaged. Load and shoot it again again type condition.

I imagine the bullet in this story must have had to hit the water with small wave at the exact right position etc for it to do what it did.
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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by Oldbloke » 22 Nov 2021, 4:41 pm

Reads like a fiction detective story.
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Re: The Belt Parkway Case

Post by No1Mk3 » 22 Nov 2021, 5:24 pm

Oldbloke wrote:Reads like a fiction detective story.

The whole of Steedmans career reads like that! :D A genuine "tough guy Jew Gangster type", respected by his men and enemies alike his investigations into the Joe Bonanno and "Crazy Joe" Gallo hits could have made a movie to go with Bob Dylans song of Gallo. Quit the force in disgust at the PC attitude of the Commissioner for refusing to back his investigation into Louis Farrakhan and Nation of Islams shooting of a NYPD officer. His co-author must have come straight from the Penny Dreadful school of writing I agree. Cheers.
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